On the size of representative volume element for Darcy law in random media

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Most studies of effective properties of random heterogeneous materials are based on the assumption of the existence of a representative volume element (RVE), without quantitatively specifying its size L relative to that of the micro-heterogeneity d. In this paper, we study the finite-size scaling trend to RVE of the Darcy law for Stokesian flow in random porous media, without invoking any periodic structure assumptions, but only assuming the microstructure's statistics to be spatially homogeneous and ergodic. By analogy to the existing methodology in thermomechanics of random materials, we first formulate a Hill-Mandel condition for the Darcy flow velocity and pressure gradient fields. This dictates uniform Neumann and Dirichlet boundary conditions, which, with the help of two variational principles, lead to scale-dependent hierarchies on effective (RVE level) permeability. To quantitatively assess the scaling trend towards the RVE, these hierarchies are computed for various porosities of random disc systems, where the disc centres are generated by a planar hard-core Poisson point field. Overall, it turns out that the higher is the density of random discs-or, equivalently, the narrower are the micro-channels in the system-the smaller is the size of RVE pertaining to the Darcy law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2949-2963
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2074
StatePublished - Oct 8 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Darcy law
  • Mesoscale bounds
  • Random media
  • Representative volume element
  • Stokes flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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